With the deadline for the Future Journalist awards fast approaching, we have listed some tips to help you improve your work. Keep checking our Social Media pages over the coming days!
|Here are our tips for posting a written entry: |
Gather the correct information:
When writing a news article, you must insure you have the correct information to tell the
story as authentically as possible. You can achieve this by obtaining an interview with
people related to the story or visiting the location of the story. You can use search engines
of research but make sure your source is a legitimate one.
Find your angle:
All news stories have an angle, this is what make the story newsworthy. For example, a hard-hitting political piece will have a different theme and focus to a human-interest story. Make sure you find your stories angle, and you make it clear to the reader within the first
Have a strong lead:
You must ensure the oping of your story is informative and grabs the readers attention. A good way to do this is to answer the five W’s (who, what, where, when and why), this will
make readers want to finish your article as you will have caught their interest.
A good structure:
It’s all ways important to structure the information so it is clear and easy to follow, this is known as the inverted pyramid structure. Make sure the most important information (the lead) is at the top of the article. The body of the story or the mid-section should contain any supporting details. Lastly the end of the article should have any extra information that will interest the reader but isn’t important to the story.
Quotes are a journalist bread and butter. Quotes help to back up the information you want
to tell in your story, but you must ensure the person you interview is relevant to the story.
Quotes will provide a different perspective and keep the reporter as an outside perspective.
Keep it simple:
Although you want to get as much information across to your readers, you must make sure not to make your article to longwinded. This will cause readers to loss interest in your piece. Its best to think like a copywriter, as their main objective is to write simply whilst have a clear and concise message.
Verify your sources:
It is extremely important to make sure all information you present is truthful and from a
reliable source. If you make up information or print rumours, you can be sued for liable,
which can come with an unlimited fine and possible prison time.
Edit you work:
It is always smart to double check you piece one you have finished writing. You should
always spell check and make sure your article reads well. This will help to make your piece come across as professional.
Here are our tips for a Visual piece:
Lighting can make a huge difference in a video’s quality. Sunlight is a great source of natural light. If filming outside it’s always best to film in the morning or the evening as the light is softer and less harsh than midday. When filming indoors you can use a large lamp or two to
create the type of light you want. When filming for journalism it’s best to use a soft/flat light,
this is where the subject is entirely lit up.
The right Background:
When filming indoors make sure the background of your video is not messy or too distracting for the viewer. Recording in an office or home office space can make you video look
professional, just make sure the shot is tidy. If you would rather have a plane background as to not distract the viewer, a solid colour wall or large bedsheet is best. Just make sure your subject stands a few feet away form the backdrop, so they don’t cast a shadow upon the
Keep the edit simple:
Similar to writing a piece for print news, make sure you keep it simple when it comes to
editing. When editing make sure you cove the basics like, cutting out any awkward pauses/silences, cutting from one shot to another at the right time, adjust audio levels and add any on screen graphics or transition. But remember keep it simple.
Avoid shaky footage:
Shaky footage can make a piece look unprofessional and can make viewers feel sick. Try
not to hold your camera by hand, it’s better to use a tripod to steady your camera. If you
don’t have a tripod, then set up your camera on a sturdy flat surface.
The rule of thirds:
The rule of thirds is one of the most basic principles of filming. This principal splits the shot
up with a 3-by-3 grid, most cameras and smartphones will have this on you view finder
already, this grid is made up of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. You want your
subject eye line along the top horizontal line and have them in the centre of the shot. If you have two subjects in shot, you want them on the two vertical lines, with their eyes on the
top horizontal line once again.
Here’s our tips for making an audio piece:
Distance from the microphone:
When you go to record your piece, its best to keep your mouth around 10cm
away from the microphone. This will make sure you don’t sound too loud like
you are shouting at the listener.
The right recording space:
If you are recording indoors make sure you find a quiet space with little to no
eco, enclosed spaces are better then large open empty spaces. If you are
outside interviewing someone, make sure the background noise low so you can hear what your subject is saying. Also make sure you don’t record in and open windy space as this will affect your audio quality.
It is always smart to use pop filters on your microphone. These will help to
reduces the popping sound when pronouncing P’s, as well as the hissing sound made when pronouncing S’s and F’s. If you don’t have a pop filter you can
always adjust your angle and distance from the microphone.
Control your breathing and pace:
Make sure you speak clear into the microphone and pronounce every work
correctly, as there are no images in radio journalism your voice is what creates
the picture in the listeners mind. If you rush you can stumble over your words
and run out of breath. Try and control your breathing, if you must take a large
breath turn you mouth/head away from the microphone.
External microphone: Although smartphones and cameras come with a built-in microphone that works just fine. To make you piece sound professional it is
best to use an external microphone, as this will increases the quality of your
With the deadline for entries March 4th, we can’t wait to see all your